IN RE THAVAMANI Case Summary (1943 Madras HC)

IN RE THAVAMANI Case Summary (1943 Madras HC)

IN RE THAVAMANI case, a legal proceeding was been instituted against the appellant before the learned Sessions Judge of Ramnad for the commission of a crime under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which states that- Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.

BENCH: HON’BLE Mr. JUSTICE KING AND Mr. JUSTICE BYERS

BRIEF FACTS:

  • On the evening of 26th September, a woman named Meenakshi Achi was murdered in her flower garden sited at a distance from the village and the body of the deceased was found in a well on 27th of September.
  • Two persons have been accused of this crime-the first one being the gardener and the second was an associate of the lady and was presently in need of money.
  • As per the post mortem report and the doctor’s testimony, no direct evidence as to the cause of death has been found except the marks of three punctured wounds upon the head, which were insufficient to cause the death.
  • The conduct of the second accused served as the primary evidence based on which he was convicted.
  • The chain of the deceased which she had been wearing at the time of death was being found in possession of the second accused by the police, confirming that the sale proceeds of this were being shared by the two accused proportionately.
  • A confession has been made by the associate before the Taluk Magistrate of Tirupattur where explained how he has been persuaded by the gardener in his act of killing the lady, the associate seized the legs of the lady and held her tightly in order to prevent her from leaving the garden, committing murder. Later, both the accused-the gardener and the associate threw the body of the deceased into the well after her death.

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ISSUES :

  1. Whether there had been any intention by the second accused to commit murder?
  2. What was the intention of the accused behind striking those blows?
  3. Whether the deceased was dead at the time she was thrown into the well?
  4. What caused action that led to the death of the lady?
  5. Whether the blows which the first accused with the help of second accused had struck at the deceased caused her death?
  6. Whether the accused is to be charged with murder as per section 302 of the Indian Penal Code,1860?

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RATIO DECIDENDI:

The original intention was only to cause injury. The second intention was only to dispose of a supposedly dead body in a way convenient for the defence which the accused was about to set up.

In the present case, there was at the beginning an intention to cause death. This intention was apparently completely carried into effect, but in fact, was not. Even if the intention at the second stage of the transaction had been merely to dispose of a dead body, the two phases of the same transaction are so closely connected in time and purpose that they must be considered as parts of the same transaction.

JUDGMENT :

To support the present contention, emphasis was placed upon the decision made in Palani Goundan v. Emperor (1919) 37 M.L.J. 17:42 Mad. 547 (F.B.) But the learned Session Judge followed the ruling reported in Kaliappa Gounden, In re (1933)65 M.L.J. 597: I.L.R. 57 Mad. 158 at 171.

The distinction between these two cases was drawn based on the intention behind the cause of action. In Palani Goundan vs Emperor, the dead body of the deceased was thrown upon the railway line merely with an intention to cause injury but not death. However, in Kaliappa Gounden, In re (1933 ), and in the present case, the original intention was to cause death, which was clearly verified by the result of the actions of the accused taken as a whole.

Since, no satisfactory reason for distinguishing the facts of the present case from the ruling in Kaliappa Goundan, In re(1933) was found, relying upon that holding, the learned Sessions Judge held the accused would be guilty of murder as per section 302 of Indian Penal Code, even if he threw the body of the deceased into the well considering her to be dead.

Thus, the conviction of the appellant for murder must therefore stand and he must be sentenced to death.

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Isha Sharma

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